By Eloise Horsfield
SCIENTISTS are researching ways to get rid of green slime that is building up inside Nerja caves causing irreversible damage to the rock.
The algae are formed when artificial lighting causes the photosynthesis of micro-organisms that are stuck to the surface.
This unsightly green goo, as well as blighting the appearance of one of Nerja’s most popular tourist attractions, is causing the stone to deteriorate.
Now specialists are trying out chemicals to remove the slime – without damaging the rock underneath.
Samples have been sent to Barcelona labs where experts in bio deterioration are studying the gunk under microscopes in the hope of finding a way to eradicate it.
They are also considering different ways of lighting the caves which does not cause slime, but frustratingly the only shade of lamp that avoids this is green.
“It’s a catch-22 situation,” said biologist Yolanda del Rosal.
The research is part of a project which began in 2009 to preserve the caves, which were discovered in 1959, in light of increased tourism.